Earth beyond six of nine planetary boundaries

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  • Will Steffen
  • Wolfgang Lucht
  • Sarah E. Cornell
  • Jonathan F. Donges
  • Markus Drüke
  • Ingo Fetzer
  • Govindasamy Bala
  • Werner von Bloh
  • Georg Feulner
  • Stephanie Fiedler
  • Dieter Gerten
  • Tom Gleeson
  • Matthias Hofmann
  • Willem Huiskamp
  • Matti Kummu
  • Chinchu Mohan
  • Stefan Petri
  • Miina Porkka
  • Stefan Rahmstorf
  • Sibyll Schaphoff
  • Kirsten Thonicke
  • Arne Tobian
  • Vili Virkki
  • Lan Wang-Erlandsson
  • Lisa Weber
  • Johan Rockström

This planetary boundaries framework update finds that six of the nine boundaries are transgressed, suggesting that Earth is now well outside of the safe operating space for humanity. Ocean acidification is close to being breached, while aerosol loading regionally exceeds the boundary. Stratospheric ozone levels have slightly recovered. The transgression level has increased for all boundaries earlier identified as overstepped. As primary production drives Earth system biosphere functions, human appropriation of net primary production is proposed as a control variable for functional biosphere integrity. This boundary is also transgressed. Earth system modeling of different levels of the transgression of the climate and land system change boundaries illustrates that these anthropogenic impacts on Earth system must be considered in a systemic context.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadh2458
JournalScience Advances
Issue number37
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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Copyright © 2023 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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